René Monteagudo Appointed Director of UM Counseling Center

FAU Monteagudo

René Monteagudo

René Monteagudo, a counseling psychologist who specializes in crisis intervention, student development, training, supervision, group therapy, and the LGBT and Latino populations, has been appointed director of the University of Miami Counseling Center, effective July 1. He will succeed Ernesto Escoto, who departed from UM to pursue a new opportunity.

Originally from South Florida, Monteagudo is currently senior associate director of Florida Atlantic University’s Counseling and Psychological Services, where he also serves as director of clinical services. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and specialist’s degrees from the University of Florida and his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Indiana University. He completed a doctoral internship at The Pennsylvania State University.

He has been on the FAU staff since 2013, and he previously served as director at the University of North Florida Counseling Center and as training director at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Counseling Center.

At his previous institutions, Monteagudo served on several major committees involving mental health and student crisis. He chaired the long-standing suicide prevention committee at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and served on behavioral intervention teams at UNF and FAU. He has presented at multiple conferences on group therapy, training, and leadership, and was an American Psychological Association accreditation site visitor.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Monteagudo will be joining us,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia A. Whitely. “I am confident that his diverse leadership experience will continue to enhance the services of our UM Counseling Center. He will no doubt be a committed and collaborative partner with faculty, students, and staff across the campus, and I am delighted he has accepted our offer to join the University community.”

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Graduate School Dean M. Brian Blake to Step Down for New Post at Drexel University

UM News

M. Brian Blake

M. Brian Blake

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 17, 2015) – M. Brian Blake, Ph.D., who always had the best interests of students and faculty in mind during his three years as UM’s vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School, is stepping down to become the next provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Drexel University beginning August 1.

“In his brief time at UM, Brian Blake has had a significant impact on several dimensions,” said UM Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc. “As dean of the Graduate School, he has been a prominent spokesperson for the role of graduate education, the quality of graduate programs, and for the interests of graduate students. As vice provost for academic affairs, he has led efforts to strengthen and diversify the faculty and train the next generation of academic leaders. He leaves the University of Miami stronger for his efforts, and we all wish him well in his new role as provost.”

Blake arrived at UM in the summer of 2012 from the University of Notre Dame, where he was a professor of computer science and engineering and associate dean of engineering, research, and graduate studies.

“Who could ask for more superb mentors and friends than President Shalala and Provost LeBlanc or a more exciting and rewarding community of students, faculty, and staff?” said Blake. “Our family will truly miss daily life at the U, but we do plan to keep our lifelong friendships. From a professional perspective, the decision to move is bittersweet and reflects my desire to help craft a narrative much like President Shalala at an institution like Drexel, for which I have natural affinities.”

As dean of UM’s Graduate School, he oversaw more than 160 graduate programs in 11 schools and colleges serving more than 5,700 students, with an overall tuition-based budget of approximately $73 million. Under his leadership, UM established first-of-their-kind interdisciplinary graduate programs across its three campuses and launched graduate initiatives in China, Italy, Jamaica, and Spain. Blake also led the development of the Distinction and Diversity initiative for graduate education and research, with goals including enhanced research outcomes for students and junior faculty, elevated visibility for graduate education, and leveraging the diversity of UM’s programs and community.

His UM position of vice provost for academic affairs involved University-wide faculty enhancement efforts. He set policy for research programs in many academic disciplines on the Coral Gables campus, including arts and sciences, business, communication, education, engineering, law, nursing, and more. Blake also led task forces that assessed faculty recruitment efforts and the University climate in regards to diversity for both students and faculty, and for tenured and non-tenure-track faculty. With support from a group of graduate student leaders, he oversaw the creation of the “Research Intersections” forum for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty to share their work with each other and pursue interdisciplinary research.

At Drexel, Blake will be the institution’s highest-ranking academic officer.



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Harvard Dean Named UM’s Sixth President

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

Julio Frenk

President-elect Julio Frenk got plenty of practice throwing up the U after his appointment was announced.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 13, 2015) — Julio Frenk’s father and his family escaped the horrors of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, fleeing to a country, Mexico, which, while much poorer economically, was much richer in tolerance.

It was a decision that quite probably saved their lives. And to this day the 61-year-old Mexican-born physician who has led Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health for the past six years has always felt a sense of gratitude, making it his life’s duty to give something back as a global citizen.

With his worldview philosophy and strong belief in diversity on display, Frenk was introduced April 13 as the University of Miami’s president-elect, ending a six-month search process to find a successor to Donna E. Shalala, who announced last September that she was stepping down from the UM presidency.

Addressing a throng of media during a midday press conference held in UM’s Student Activities Center, Frenk said he is “honored” and “humbled” by UM’s decision to tab him as its next president. He noted that during the search process, he sensed the enormous optimism and ambition surrounding the University’s future, saying that the institution is on a “upward trajectory” to reach greater heights.

It was a search process that Stuart A. Miller, chairman of UM’s Board of Trustees, described as “comprehensive and inclusive” and reaching across all campuses. The process also “opened our eyes to just how much passion there is for the University,” said Richard Fain, who chaired the search committee.

Like Shalala, Frenk is a former secretary of health. As Mexico’s minister of health from 2000 to 2006, he reformed that nation’s health system, introducing comprehensive universal health insurance, which expanded access to health care for tens of millions of uninsured Mexicans.

When he takes the reins on September 1, Frenk will become the first Hispanic and only the sixth president in UM’s 90-year history. He will lead an institution that has experienced a period of unprecedented growth under his predecessor.

Shalala, who became UM president in 2001 after serving eight years as secretary of health and human services in the Clinton administration, leaves the University at the end of May to head the Clinton Foundation. It will mark the end of a 14-year tenure during which the university entered the top 50 of the U.S. News & World Report’s prestigious college rankings, opened new facilities, hired renowned scholars, and raised more than $3 billion as part of two highly successful capital campaigns. The first, called Momentum: The Campaign for the University of Miami, marked the first time in Florida that any school had raised $1 billion.

Frenk, who first met Shalala almost 20 years ago while working at the World Health Organization, has followed her career over the years and is aware of the legacy and strong foundation she leaves at UM, which, he said, should make his job a lot easier.

The opportunity to continue the upward momentum started by Shalala, UM’s strategic location as the gateway to Latin America, and the institution’s potential to spearhead and lead positive changes of the 21st century were among the key factors that made the UM job attractive to him, he said.

UM’s Miller School of Medicine and the UHealth System, along with the University’s research enterprise also made the job attractive to him.

Frenk said that he intends to start a process of immersion, listening and learning everything he can about the University from now through the initial months of his tenure.

His expertise in public health, he said, will be a tremendous benefit because the essence of that field—a “be ready” approach aimed at addressing issues before they become problems—applies to many other areas.

A basketball player and soccer goalie in his younger days, Frenk said he views athletics as “an integral part of a comprehensive education” and would be meeting with UM coaches later in the day. As a Ph.D. Student for five years at Michigan, he said he became a big football fan, especially when, year after year, his seats in venerable Michigan Stadium moved closer and closer to the 50-yard line.

Shalala, who introduced Frenk at Monday’s press conference, noted that the “Miami es el Mundo (Miami is the world)” theme she spoke of in her UM inauguration address nearly 14 years ago has today come true with the selection of Frenk.

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Film Composer James Newton Howard Appointed to Henry Mancini Institute

James Newton Howard / Photo by Wim Lippens

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 15, 2015)—James Newton Howard, one of the most versatile and respected composers working in film today, was named the new artistic director of the Frost School of Music’s Henry Mancini Institute.

Howard succeeds film composer, arranger, and multi-Grammy Award-winning trumpeter and bandleader Terence Blanchard, who has served with distinction as artistic director for the past seven years. Howard’s term will begin in January 2016. An inaugural large-scale concert featuring Howard’s original film music is planned for Spring 2016 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.

“The Frost School is very fortunate to welcome James Newton Howard, one of the greatest and most significant film composers over the last 30 years, to oversee the artistic direction of the Henry Mancini Institute,” Frost School Dean Shelton G. Berg said. “James’ experience at the highest level of music making will be invaluable to an educational institution that places real-world excellence at the heart of its activities.”

To date, Howard has received eight Oscar nominations, including six for Best Original Score for his work on Defiance, Michael Clayton, The Village, The Fugitive, The Prince of Tides, and My Best Friend’s Wedding. He also was nominated for Best Original Song for the films Junior and One Fine Day.

Howard, along with Hans Zimmer, won the 2009 Grammy Award for the score for The Dark Knight. He also has received Grammy Award nominations for music from Blood Diamond, Dinosaur, Signs, and the song from One Fine Day. In addition, he won an Emmy Award for the theme to the Andre Braugher series Gideon’s Crossing, and received two additional Emmy nominations for the themes to the long-running Warner Bros. series ER and the Ving Rhames series Men. Howard has also been nominated four times for Golden Globe Awards for his massive orchestral score for Peter Jackson’s blockbuster remake of King Kong; for the songs from Junior and One Fine Day; and for his provocative symphonic score for Defiance.

“Henry Mancini was one of my great musical heroes, and I am delighted and honored to serve as artistic director of the Henry Mancini Institute,” Howard said. “I’m eager to begin working with the talented students at Frost School of Music and engage them in an ever-evolving musical world.”

During Blanchard’s term as artistic director, the Mancini Institute Orchestra was named resident orchestra of the popular Jazz Roots series produced by Larry Rosen and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. The HMI Orchestra also performed in three PBS television specials and one HBO special, and recorded multiple CD/DVD projects with international superstars such as George Benson, Gloria Estefan, Chick Corea, and Bobby McFerrin. In 2009, the Henry Mancini Institute received a $500,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to expand the Frost School’s community engagement throughout the South Florida region, and received matching grants from performing arts philanthropists Ginny Mancini and Adrienne Arsht.

Howard will continue the Mancini Institute’s mission to bring genre-blending recording and performance opportunities to more than 65 auditioned Mancini Fellows, plus interactive experiences to all 700 students enrolled at the Frost School. He also will elevate the Mancini Institute’s worldwide reputation through new multimedia and collaborative opportunities.

In addition to his eight Oscar nominations and Grammy Award and nominations, Howard received the 2008 World Soundtrack Award for Film Composer of the Year for his work on the films Charlie Wilson’s War, Michael Clayton, and I Am Legend. He has received the Soundtrack of the Year Award from the Classical BRIT Awards for The Dark Knight (2009) and Blood Diamond (2008). In 2009 he received the Special 5th Anniversary GoldSpirit Award for Best Composer of the Last 5 years (2004-2008) from the Úbeda Film Music Conference in Spain. He has had two concert pieces premiere with the Pacific Symphony—I Would Plant a Tree, performed in February 2009, and most recently his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, performed in March 2015, featuring renowned violinist James Ehnes.

Howard, who has been honored with ASCAP’s prestigious Henry Mancini Award for Lifetime Achievement, now has more than 120 films to his credit. Among them are all of M. Night Shyamalan’s films, including The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water and The Last Airbender. His other wide-ranging credits include all three installments of The Hunger Games, Maleficent, Nightcrawler, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Bourne Legacy, Salt, Water for Elephants, Gnomeo & Juliet, Batman Begins, Collateral, Snow Falling on Cedars, Outbreak, Hidalgo, Peter Pan, Wyatt Earp, Freedomland, Treasure Planet, Falling Down, Primal Fear, Glengarry Glen Ross, Waterworld, The Devil’s Advocate, Dave, and Pretty Woman among many others.

Howard’s success reflects the experiences of a rich musical past. Inspired by his grandmother, a classical violinist who played in the Pittsburgh Symphony in the ’30s and ’40s, he began his studies on the piano at age four. After studying at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and at the USC Thornton School of Music as a piano major, he completed his formal education with orchestration study under legendary arranger Marty Paich.

Though his training was classical, he maintained an interest in rock and pop music, and it was his early work in the pop arena that allowed him to hone his talents as a musician, arranger, songwriter, and producer. He racked up a string of collaborations in the studio and on the road with some of pop’s biggest names, including Elton John; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Barbra Streisand; Earth, Wind and Fire; Bob Seger; Rod Stewart; Toto; Glenn Frey; Diana Ross; Carly Simon; Olivia Newton-John; Randy Newman; Rickie Lee Jones; Cher; and Chaka Khan.

When he was offered his first film, Head Office, in 1985, he knew he had found his calling. His upcoming projects include Francis Lawrence’s final installment of The Hunger GamesMockingjay, Part 2 and Peter Landesman’s Concussion.

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Human Rights Clinic Founder Appointed White House Advisor on Violence Against Women

By Catharine Skipp
Special to UM News

Carrie Bettinger Lopez

Carrie Bettinger-Lopez

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 4, 2015)—Vice President Joe Biden announced today the appointment of Miami Law’s Caroline “Carrie” Bettinger-López as the new White House Advisor on Violence Against Women. Bettinger- López, a leading advocate for gender-based equality and human rights, has worked at local, national, and international levels to bring an end to violence against women.

In her new role, Bettinger-López will serve as an advisor to the president and vice president on domestic violence and sexual assault issues and as a liaison to the domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy communities, according to the White House.

She also will collaborate with federal agencies on the implementation of Violence Against Women Act programs and the coordination of federal efforts to address violence against women and girls both domestically and globally, and drive the development of new initiatives and policies to combat domestic violence and sexual assault with key public and private stakeholders.

“Throughout her career, Carrie has made clear that the most basic of human rights is freedom from violence,” Biden said. “I am honored that she will be joining my staff to continue the work we began with the Violence Against Women Act, and I know she will be a strong voice for women everywhere who continue to suffer from sexual assault and domestic violence in the worst prison on earth—the four walls of their own home.”

As a litigator and an advocate, Bettinger-López has fought for the protection of victims of domestic violence and the provision of remedies for violations of survivors’ rights. Prior to her legal career, Bettinger-López engaged in social services advocacy and youth education centered on women and girls’ empowerment, as well as anti-violence programming.

Most recently, Bettinger-López founded and served as director of the Human Rights Clinic at the  School of Law, where she served as an associate professor of clinical legal education. Her scholarship included a focus on violence against women, gender and race discrimination, and immigrant rights.

“We are delighted that Vice President Biden has asked Professor Bettinger-López to play this important role,” said School of Law Dean Patricia D. White. “Her path-breaking advocacy work makes her uniquely qualified to carry out her charge.”

Bettinger-López will lead the Obama administration’s efforts to put an end to violence against women. Among many important steps forward, the administration has led efforts to combat campus sexual assault, worked to prevent domestic violence homicides, and fought to extend protections to women of color and LGBT Americans who have been victims of violence, according to the White House.



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